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Suspect in Henderson priest’s killing injured in prison van crash

A man charged in the slaying of a defrocked priest in Henderson remained hospitalized Thursday from injuries he suffered when a van carrying inmates crashed, the defendant’s lawyer said after a court hearing.

Derrick Decoste faces charges of murder and robbery in the shooting death of disgraced former priest John Capparelli, 70.

Capparelli’s body was found on March 9 inside his Henderson home in the 1400 block of Bonner Springs Drive, near Eastern Avenue and Reunion Drive, police have said.

He was previously a priest in New Jersey who was named in a list of clergy who “have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors” in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey.

In June, when Decoste was charged in the killing, he was in jail in Oakland County, Michigan, on unrelated charges.

Among two inmates critically injured when a prison transport van wrecked last month in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, Decoste was hospitalized at University Medical Center on Thursday, according to his attorney and news reports.

“His progress is slow,” Deputy Public Defender Ryan Bashor said.

According to police, Decoste encountered Capparelli when he responded to a Craigslist post seeking young men to wrestle.

Decoste, then 25, was “eager to make money” and responded to the advertisement, his girlfriend told police, according to Decoste’s arrest warrant. It was after his second visit to the former priest’s home that he mentioned robbing the man, she told investigators.

Capparelli worked as a Catholic priest and later a teacher in Newark before he was defrocked and lost his teaching certificates in 1992 after dozens of sexual abuse allegations were leveled against him dating to the 1970s and 1980s, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger newspaper.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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